If you’re a farmers’ market junkie, chances are you like to check out the vendors and their wares at markets in other cities when you travel. If you’re still in California, Berkeley’s Ecology Center has come up with an easy way to do this.
The Farmers’ Market Finder, which was launched in late January, is a tool that can be used either online or on one’s mobile phone using GPS to help locate the nearest market to you.
“It can also help get customers there using public transportation, and they can filter by day of the week, or those that accept CalFresh (formerly known as “food stamps” or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, on the federal level,) benefits,” said Martin Bourque, executive director of the Ecology Center. “This makes it a lot easier to filter through 850 markets across the state to figure out which one you should go to.”
In Berkeley, many know that the Ecology Center is the organization that runs its farmers’ markets as well as its curbside recycling program. But the 43-year-old membership organization actually does a lot more than that. “Our mission is to inspire and build a healthy sustainable and just future for the East Bay and beyond,” said Bourque. “We work to transform the ideals of sustainability into every day practice through a broad range of programs, helping people get informed and active on different topics, helping steward ideas into projects, and eventually pilot projects that really work and make a difference.”
For example, Bourque said, the Ecology Center began the first curbside recycling program in the country in 1974. “There was a group of people who were outraged at garbage being dumped into the landfill and into the Bay,” said Bourque. “People told them they were crazy and would never make a difference. Today recycling is commonplace.”